Governments of Floyd County and City of Rome, GA

For Immediate Release: Preservation Celebration Symposium to be held at the Historic DeSoto Theatre - Public Invited


By Kristi Kent

The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) is partnering with the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) for a preservation symposium at the Historic DeSoto Theatre on Thursday, May 9 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.

May is National Historic Preservation Month and the Rome-Floyd Planning Department makes it a point to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect Rome’s historic resources. The Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation is a non-profit organization established in 2008 to secure the future of the iconic 1929 theatre in downtown Rome. They are committed to preserving the tradition and legacy that is the Jewel of Broad Street. It is their mission to usher the movie house that introduced us to “talkies” into the age of “selfies” and social media.

David Clonts, President of the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation and member of the Rome Historic Preservation Commission said, “The DeSoto is excited and honored to be hosting this year’s preservation training. We have a great preservation community in Rome and I think it is great that we can share our vision with communities beyond Rome.” Clonts added that he was excited to see what was going to come next in regards to the future of preservation in Rome and for the DeSoto. Next year, the DeSoto Theatre will celebrate 90 years of downtown entertainment.

“Partnering with the DDA and the HPC to host the Preservation Celebration Symposium is super exciting for us,” said Michelle Picón, development director for the Historic DeSoto Theatre Foundation.
“It validates that restoring the DeSoto is important not just as a place where the community gathers to enjoy the arts, but also because a thriving historic theatre serves as an economic engine for downtown. That is exactly the point that many of the speakers from all over Georgia will be bringing home to the participants!”

In past years, the HPC has conducted private lunch and learns with the Downtown Development Authority to train current and new board members. Newer members of the HPC and Downtown Development Authority are required to undergo staff training. “In lieu of sending members out of town, it was easier to hold the training session locally, said Community Planner, Brittany Griffin. This year’s training event will be much larger and open to the public.

"Regional Historic Preservation training was an unfilled niche in northwest Georgia," Griffin said. "We're trying to incorporate the local public into our annual training event and decided to open it up to the state. This training is for everyone; builders, real estate agents, or someone who is just interested in learning more about what historic preservation is all about."

Expert-led sessions will highlight the factors that shaped preservation efforts in Georgia from the 19th century to today and ask what the future of archeological, architectural, and cultural preservation in the state will look like. Speakers include: Bettijo Cook Trawick and Rodney Mims Cook Jr.; Leigh Burns, Fox Theatre Institute; Sarah Rogers, GA HPD; Mark McDonald, The Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation; Paul Pierce, Springer Opera House; Dr. Lydia Simpson, MTSU Center for Historic Preservation; Jessica Reynolds, DCA; and Connie Tabor, City of Toccoa. Local architect, Mark Cochran, will be moderating.

The full day event will be held at The Historic DeSoto Theatre, located at 530 Broad St., Rome, Ga 30161. Tickets are $45 for the public and student tickets will be available at the door for $25. Tickets can be purchased at and also at the event.

For questions or additional event details, call Community Planner, Brittany Griffin at 706-236-5025.

About Kristi Kent